Blackfeet Shut Down Glacier's East Entrances Over COVID-19 Fears

Jun 26, 2020
Originally published on June 26, 2020 6:18 pm

The Blackfeet Nation will close off road access to Glacier National Park’s east entrances for the remainder of the tourism season, according to a resolution written Thursday. The tribal leaders’ decision was based on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council issued a resolution saying it will close roads leading from state and federal highways to park entrances. That includes Two Medicine, Chief Mountain, Going to the Sun, Cut Bank Creek and Many Glacier roads.

Park leadership is still digesting the decision, according to Glacier National Park spokesperson Gina Kerzman, but the east entrances will likely remain closed for the season. That could mean operations on Going-to-the-Sun Road will look different.

“We’re taking into consideration things like having one entrance point if you just enter from the west entrance and exit from the west entrance: What would that look like?” Kerzman said.

She added the park is also considering where visitors could turn around and how many people could be on the road at once.

Business Council Chair Tim Davis said closing the road will hit the $110 million a year tourism industry in Glacier County, which encompasses the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. But Davis explained the economy is not the only concern.

“We’re not again, doing this based on economics,” he said. “It’s based on science and health.”

Davis said the tribe received more than $30 million in federal relief funding and is still deciding how to spend that money. The council will consider economic relief for businesses and employees who are out of work due to the closure of the park gates, he added.

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